How To Keep Your Cool When The Whole World is Watching
SALLIE KRAWCHECK, CFO, Citigroup
(Business 2.0) – Ever since you were tabbed to restore the luster of Citigroup's brokerage unit in 2002, your life has been under a microscope. Last month, you became CFO of the entire company, which set off a flurry of rumors that you're in line to replace CEO Charles Prince. How are you able to do business when everyone is scrutinizing everything you do?
You just can't pay attention to it. I really can't spend one more minute thinking about how people are watching me or reading some article that says people want me to fail. Look, everyone loves a good drama, and in the press you're either going up or you're going down. But when I read what's being written about me, some of it does hurt my feelings. I particularly hate the ones that talk about my mannerisms or my looks. Or ones that use unflattering nicknames. I don't like any of them. But when you have a last name like Krawcheck, it lends itself to all sorts of unflattering nicknames. If you're going to be successful, you need to develop a thick skin. It's Pollyannaish to think that everyone is rooting for you. They're not.
So how do you deal with it?
I think it makes a lot of sense to attack the day the same way I used to attack the companies I was researching: Keep your head down, and work your tail off. I typically work a 15-hour day. I wake up at 5:30. My first meeting is usually at 7 a.m., and I normally work until 7 p.m. Then it's home for dinner and checking my kids' homework (when I'm not traveling or having dinner with clients), and then I'm working again by 8:30 p.m. until I go to sleep at midnight. My one guilty pleasure is ER, which I TiVo and watch on Saturday nights. — M.L.